In my efforts to try to learn more Spanish, I thought I'd start listening to Spanish music. I stumbled upon an artist and I can't tell you who he was now, but one line in the song stood out to me - Estoy Aqui. I'm here.
The song was a love song and it at first made me think about how I wished I had someone (as in a significant other) in my life to turn to when everything was falling apart. To hear the words, "I'm here" whispered in my ear when I was at rock bottom seemed magically impossible. Perhaps I won't experience this in my life, but my mind quickly turned to who else would say "Estoy Aqui." I realized that God and His Son, Jesus Christ are always here for us. No matter where we are in the world - Peru or Paris or Panguitch - the Lord and His Son know each of us and knows what we are doing. I don't know how they know where one lonely, awkward American woman who doesn't speak Spanish in Northwestern Peru is... but they do. I have been blessed by their care and guidance.
Honestly, being here is one of the hardest things I've ever done - in a different way than my other challenges. It's hard because I am stripped of all my self-reliance. I am stripped off all my pride in my intellect. I have to (and must) ask and rely on others to help me and show me the way to survive here. Sometimes I wonder. Why did I chose to come here? Did I make a mistake? Why don't I know Spanish better? It is so humbling to be the one in a crowd that can't speak and is made mute by my lack of ability. For someone who is so expressive with language, not being able to speak is incredibly challenging. I attend church services and sit and wonder why I bother. How presumptuous of me to expect these people to attend to me or help me. I have to stand on my own two feet. I'm an adult. It is actually easier for me to sell 99% of my things, quit my job, take a job in a field I've never done before... than to approach someone and ask for help or to fix something (like the water heater). But yet, here I am. The people have been generous and kind.
Teaching is hard. I knew that. But it's hard when you have unmotivated students, it's hard when you aren't making progress, it's hard when you don't feel they even care. Or, when you assign homework, and only 5 do the project, out of 25.
Yet, I keep returning to the phrase - Estoy Aqui. No matter where we are, or what time it is, God and His Son are there for each of us. We don't need Skype or web cams, just our hearts. In tears or in gratitude, we can converse with God for as long or as often as we need.
I had a really rough time in church today. I wanted to leave, but I stayed. Then in Sunday School, I was asked to read a verse in the Book of Mormon (in Spanish).
Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we areafaithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion.
This scripture spoke loud to my hurting heart. It was no coincidence I was asked to read that scripture. I must remain faithful to the gospel I profess is true. God says "Estoy Aqui." He means it. When we turn to Him, we can be healed, protected, preserved and supported. Maybe we won't get the answer or blessing we hope for, but we will be supported through our daily lives.
Last Sunday, I was asked to read this scripture (in Alma 40:12)
And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of ahappiness, which is calledbparadise, a state of rest, a state of cpeace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.
Again, this touched me. What a delightful blessing and promise. One day, all of our pain, suffering, hurt and sorrow will be removed, and we will have peace. If we remain strong, even when it's too hard to be strong, we will receive relief and rest one day. We just have to keep going.
Today, I turned on the Mormon Channel radio station and a few songs later, I heard my favorite hymn - "I Believe in Christ." My favorite lyric pierced my soul and tears flowed.
I believe in Christ...so come what may.
No matter what happens while I am here in Peru or anywhere else in the future, I believe in Christ, so come what may, no matter how dark, destructive or debilitating the future may be, I know that the Lord and Christ will always say "Estamos Aqui."